How to become a Tea Master

The first step in understanding more about tea is to be able to describe the flavors you are tasting. A great way to explore new teas is through our Discovery Kit!

The interesting thing about the English language is that we actually have very few phrases to describe flavors or fragrances. 

We may typically use terms like: sweet, sour, spicy, bitter, smoky, etc. 

But these terms can be limiting when describing more nuanced flavors. 

So to be more specific we often use terms like “lemon-y”, “apple-y”, “rose-y”, etc. 

But in order to use these references to other fragrances, we have to have experienced them. 

For example, if you’ve never smelled a rose, you are not going to relate the smell or taste of your cup of tea to a rose. 

So this means that the more smells and tastes you’ve experienced, the larger “library” you’ll have to pull from and the more descriptors you’ll be able to use. 

So this is a “bigger picture” idea to improve your ability to describe tastes. 

But let’s start where we are now… 

You may have seen guides like this before, it’s a very useful tool called a Flavor Wheel. 

Now we’re going to walk you through a tasting of our shade-grown Japanese green tea,

Let’s begin… 

  1. Steep your own cup of Gyokuro or any other tea you have available. 
  1. Take a sip of tea. Really focus on the “broad” or “large” flavors you’re tasting. 
  1. Refer to the Flavor Wheel, is it Vegetal, Floral, Nutty, Sweet, or Spicy? Take a few sips if necessary and just say or write the first things that come to mind. For the Gyokuro, the dominant flavors we’re getting are Vegetal and Floral, with some Nutty notes as well. 
  1. If you’re having trouble, you could do an elimination of flavors. For example a Gyokuro is typically NOT described as Spicy or Char. This can help you understand what it IS tasting like. 
  1. For Gyokuro, we’re tasting Vegetal, Floral, and Nutty. Let’s continue to taste and go through the listed options for Vegetal. Is it Grassy, like Vegetables, or Herbs? Personally, we’re getting Grassy Notes like straw and freshly cut grass. Additionally we’re getting Seaweed-type flavors. 
  1. Remember there is no wrong answer. And the guide is only used as a jumping off point if you’re stuck. There are of course hundreds of additional flavors not included in the guide. 
  1. Keep sipping and exploring! And most importantly, have fun! You can also try this with food and it can even help you become a better chef.

Let us know how your experience was and what flavors you tasted in your cup of tea. 

If you’d like some new teas to taste, we recommend trying our Discovery Kit

Often people want to try new flavors of tea, but they don’t know where to begin and what to buy. 

Plus they’re worried about buying a large quantity and not liking a certain tea. 

We’ve saved you the trouble and packed our favorite 4-6 teas with varying flavors in one convenient sampler for you. 

Think of this as a “Tea Flight” to try many different teas and explore their unique characteristics. 

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